Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS trust holds staff talks to discuss urgent need for �23m savings

The chief executive of an NHS trust held talks with staff to discuss its hospitals’ �50million debt and the urgent need to make efficiency savings.

Averil Dongworth, head of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), spoke to about 200 staff members from Queen’s and King George on July 6 about the trust having to make �23m of savings this financial year alone.

The meeting, which the trust said was part of regular staff engagement, came shortly before the government announced South London Healthcare NHS trust would to be put into administration as a result of financial troubles.

A spokeswoman for the trust said the talk was about “developing a plan for our long term clinical and financial viability”.

Savings will focus on “bank and agency staff, using theatres and outpatient clinics more effectively and reducing waste”.

The spokeswoman added: “Because spending on staff is such a large proportion of all our spending, we will be looking to make savings from the workforce. This doesn’t necessarily mean redundancies, however.

“Our first priority in making efficiency savings will be to cut spending on bank and agency staff, making better use of permanent staff, because we know this is both less expensive and also provides patients with better quality care.”

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Last year health watchdog, Care Quality Commission, launched an investigation into the trust following serious failings in its maternity department among others.

A recent report said it had made “good progress” but raised serious concerns about the A&E department at Queen’s.

The spokeswoman said: “We will of course maintain the right levels of staffing to provide safe and high quality care, complying with CQC standards.”